George Sommerville took last summer off from swimming. He played a little baseball and did a little cross training to get him in better shape.
"I was kind of tired and I wanted a break," said Sommerville.
But once the Taconic junior got back into the pool, he gave nobody in Berkshire County a break. That's why he's the All-Eagle boys swimming most valuable player for the second consecutive year.
A three-time All-Eagle pick, Sommerville had quite the season. He finished second in two events at the unofficial Western Mass. boys meet, earning runner-up status in the 50 and 100 breaststroke.
He went on to finish third in the 100 breaststroke and fourth in the 50 at states.
Sommerville also broke his own school records in the 50 free and 100 breast.
The Taconic junior admitted that frequently swimmers who do what he did may not be able to pick up where they left off.
"When you take a season off, people don't come back as strong," Sommerville said. "That's how it happens in swimming.
"I'm going to come back stronger."
So instead of swimming, Sommerville worked out with personal trainer Dan Larrow in Pittsfield. Sommerville got bigger and stronger.
"It helped me pretty good. It pushes you to do a little more and not hold back," Sommerville said. "If you just go [to the gym] with a friend, you might hold back. With Dan, he teaches you techniques and you can build up and get better."
When the Braves first reported to the pool on the Monday after Thanksgiving, Taconic coach Marisa Plant said she noticed a change in her swim standout.
She said he got bigger and stronger. In the long run, that has to help a swimmer. In the short term, well, that's a different story.
"Before we started, he messaged me [and said] something's off," Plant said. "He was just trying to figure out his strokes."
"In the beginning," said Sommerville, "I wasn't used to swimming."
Not only that, but with the extra strength he got from his cross-training, Sommerville had to adjust his strokes to his strength. To say the least, that was successful.
The Taconic swimmer said that, every bit as important as getting a little bigger and stronger, the workout schedule improved his confidence level in the pool.
"Because of the confidence I gained from going to the gym, I could drop my times and be a better swimmer overall," he said.
"In the beginning, I wasn't used to swimming because I didn't swim in the summer. After I started to swim and go to the gym at the same time, I felt pretty good in the pool. I felt my times dropping in practice."